Some people believe strongly in blessing and cursing things. This is especially true for those who worship the earth, or Satan, or other false gods. When they bless things or people, sometimes it seems good things happen to them. When they curse things or people, it seems bad things happen to them.
Years ago, the king of
Maybe you would go to Balaam and say, “Hey, I don’t like my little brother. Can you put a curse on him—nothing too bad—for this weekend?” “Sure,” Balaam might say, “for ten bucks.” So you would pay him, and he would do it. On the other hand, maybe you would pay him to bless your next soccer game or your math test.
Balaam’s blessings and curses really came true. Sometimes this
may have been just luck, but other times it was more than luck. He lived on the
shores of a big river called the
Balak, the evil king of
The way Balaam called down blessings or curses on people was to talk to their false god. Behind every false god is a demon. He would talk to the demon, and the demon would do things for him. “No problem,” thought Balaam. “I’ll just talk to the god/demon of these Jewish people, and he will curse them for me. And I’ll make big bucks on it.” However, when he spoke to this God, things were different. This wasn’t a fake god; this was the REAL God. This God didn’t take orders—this God gave orders. God ordered Balaam not to curse the Jews; he could bless them but not curse them.
God told Balaam he could go to see the evil king, but he couldn’t
curse the Jews. Balaam packed up and got ready to go. He thought to himself,
“The king will pay me lots of gold. I’ll be rich if I call curses down on
Balaam didn’t tell anybody what he was thinking. It isn’t even written down in this part of the Bible. [It’s alluded to later in 2 Peter 2:15–16, and Jude 11.] However, we know what he was thinking because of what happened next.
Balaam saddled his donkey and started to ride out to meet the
evil king, the king of
A little later the path became narrower, with a wall on both sides. Balaam was again lost in thought, spending the money he didn’t yet have. Whack! The donkey smashed Balaam’s foot against one of the walls! She continued to walk ahead. Thump! Balaam hit her harder. “You idiot,” he yelled. “Keep it up, and you’ll be my supper meat!”
The walls on the sides of the path got even closer together. The donkey and Balaam couldn’t fit through. So the donkey stopped. Balaam wanted her to go on, but she wouldn’t. Then she laid down! There Balaam was, sitting on top of a donkey that was lying on the ground between two walls. “That’s it,” said Balaam. “You’re supper now!” He took his staff—a big stick—and began to beat her.
About this time, Jesus gave the bruised donkey the ability to speak. The donkey asked Balaam, “What have I done to deserve you beating me three times today?” What would you do if your animals started talking to you? I bet you wouldn’t do what Balaam did.
Balaam started talking back to her as if it was normal! Balaam answered the donkey, “You made a fool of me, donkey! If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you right now!”
Satan once talked to Eve through a snake. That’s when Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. In a story in the New Testament, demons enter pigs. That’s a story for later in this book. Okay, we know that demons can enter animals if God lets them. We know that Satan spoke through a snake. We know that demons entered pigs. We know that Balaam talked with demons before. It’s possible Balaam talked with demons in animals before.
Was there a demon in the donkey on this day? No, it was just the donkey in the donkey! So the donkey said back to Balaam, “Aren’t I your own donkey and haven’t you ridden me often? Have I ever acted like this before?” Balaam answered, “Um . . . no. In fact, until today you’ve been a fine donkey.”
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes. He saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn! [This is probably Jesus. It seems that O.T. references to the angel of the Lord are references to God himself. The story of Gideon in Judges 6 is an example of “the angel of the Lord” later being referred to as “The Lord.”] Now Balaam knew why his donkey kept stopping. Quickly Balaam bowed low with his face in the dirt. The angel of the Lord asked Balaam, “Why have you beaten your donkey three times? I have come here to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. It’s a good thing you had that donkey with you. If you didn’t, you would be dead by now. I would have killed you, but I wanted to spare the donkey, and I couldn’t hit you without injuring her!”
Wow, imagine God telling you that your pet is worth more to him than you are! Balaam learned a hard lesson. He learned that God knows your thoughts, even when you haven’t told them to any other person. When God says to give him your heart, he means to give him even your thoughts. You may as well let God in on all your thoughts and plans; he knows them anyway. That way you will always be worth much more to him than your pet, whether it is a talking pet or not!
When Balaam left that place, his donkey took him straight to the evil king. There God blessed the Israelites through Balaam. The evil king wanted curses, but God brought blessings. When you let God in on your plans, blessing is the result!
Remember: You’ve Got His Word on It
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Psalm
I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 40:10
How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Ephesians 1:3
And so it is: All who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. . . . Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. . . . So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Galatians 3:9, 14; 6:9
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11